The Fisher of Bones

Sarah Gailey. Fireside Fiction, $14.99 trade paper (130p) ISBN 978-0-9987783-2-7
Gailey’s dark fantasy novella poses a revisionist take on the Moses quest: a tiny band of prophet-led outcasts, guided by tablets and lured by the promised land. This time, however, the tablets are incomprehensible to believers, and the original prophet dies with no promised land in sight. His heir, a resentful daughter, cannot deny the sudden alteration of her vision and the cacophony of otherworldly voices that descend upon her as her father dies. Faith is for others; she has duty and marching orders. Readers of Gailey’s entertaining debut, River of Teeth, will find familiar traces of humor here—the heroine is named Ducky and renamed Fisher upon her ascension, silliness that takes time to pay off in full—but this is the opposite of a rollicking read: privation, suspicion, and despair predominate, and most events occur offstage, creating often-shocking tableaus with minimal action. The story idea is well suited to its novella length. Whether its conclusion is satisfactory depends, perhaps, on the reader’s approach to religion, but the journey is worth taking regardless. Agent: DongWon Song, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2017
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